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Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill - Seattle, Washington

Updated on September 19, 2016

The Conservatory at Volunteer Park

This is a simple tribute to the amazing gift presented by all of the conservatories around the United States. If not for these wonderful conservatories, we might never see the beauty of tropical flowers and plants that couldn't possibly grow in our northern climates.

Volunteer Park Conservatory was built in 1912 and is home to more than 600 varieties of tropical plants, most notably orchids.

Volunteer Park Conservatory Sign
Volunteer Park Conservatory Sign

As you enter the conservatory you are immediately drawn to this enormous bell.

This beautiful piece of art is by internationally renowned artist Toshiko Takaezu. It was shipped to the conservatory from her studio in Quakertown, New Jersey and is eventually going to be placed in the conservatory's Kubota Garden.

Toshiko rarely parts with her bells so this was an especially meaningful gift.

The History of the Conservatory

As written in the Seattle Parks & Recreation website at

"In 1878, the City of Seattle acquired about 45 acres on north Capitol Hill from a sawmill engineer for $2000. First called City Park, the acreage was improved during the turn of the century using plans designed by the famous Olmsted brothers, landscape architects. In 1901 City Park was renamed Volunteer Park to honor the volunteers who served in the Spanish-American War.

The Conservatory, first proposed in 1893, was not completed until 1912. The City purchased the Conservatory design and framework from Hitchings Company of New York. It was erected by Parks staff. In 1922 growing greenhouses were built to grow and propagate plants in support of the conservatory and annual flower production for general public display use."

Beautiful displays inside the conservatory include dozens of species of flowering plants.
Beautiful displays inside the conservatory include dozens of species of flowering plants.

If you go... - Choose a guide to plan your trip

Seattle is a sightseer's delight! Volunteer Park is not to be missed but you'll find other wonderful visitors' destinations, as well.

Volunteer Park - Seattle, Washington

1400 E. Galer St, Seattle Washington

get directions

Pink and yellow orchids
Pink and yellow orchids

Did you know.....?

Volunteer Park Conservatory is a repository for illegally seized tropical plants!

The United States Fish and Wildlife Center (USFW) confiscates restricted plants (orchids, cycads and cacti) that are seized as a result of illegal imports and keeps them in quarantine for 30 days at the Volunteer Park Conservatory which is a registered US Fish & Wildlife Department respository.. They are then kept as part of the permanent collection and are only used for propogation or for trading to other conservatories or botanical gardens.

Banana Tree
Banana Tree
Rattlesnake Plant
Rattlesnake Plant

The Flowers of Volunteer Park - A month by month gallery

Flowers of Volunteer Park Conservatory: Blooming Month by Month
Flowers of Volunteer Park Conservatory: Blooming Month by Month

This volume is full of stunning photographs. This would make a wonderful gift.


I hope you enjoyed this little tour. If you visit Seattle, Washington, try to put a trip to Volunteer Park on your itinerary. You won't be sorry! I promise. Please leave your calling card.

My Volunteer Park Guestbook - Thanks for stopping by!

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